The article today re-titled "Tim Tebow's Stubborn Rejection of NFL Team" (keep in mind that the actual title was "Tim Tebow reportedly turns down NFL team’s inquiry at position other than quarterback"), but Yahoo (not surprisingly) felt the need to rename it to fit their agenda of bashing him on a daily basis.
My personal story is that I am not a Florida Gator fan and keep my religious beliefs to myself. However, I am a fan of football. As a result, I saw the Phenom known as Tim Tebow when he played at Florida. His stats were extremely impressive. The list from Wiki follows:
"At the end of his college career, Tebow held 5 NCAA, 14 Southeastern Conference, and 28 University of Florida statistical records. He was the SEC's all-time leader in career passing efficiency (170.8), completion percentage (67.1%), passing touchdown to interception ratio (5.5 to 1), rushing yards by a quarterback (2947), rushing touchdowns (any position) (57), and total touchdowns responsible for (145). Among many mentions in the NCAA Division-I record book, Tebow is ranked second in career passing efficiency, third in career yards per attempt (9.33), 8th in career rushing touchdowns, and also owns the record for most consecutive games in which he both threw at least one touchdown pass and scored at least one rushing touchdown (14)"
I believe most of the people that hate him have no idea that he owns several passing records in the SEC. If you only read Yahoo reader comments, you would be surprised that the guy could even throw a ball, much less have the all time SEC record for passing efficiency (second all time in the NCAA).
I don't think there is any argument that Tim Tebow isn't one of the greatest college football players in history. The stats, Heisman Trophy, and NCAA Championships prove it.
So where does the NFL get its talent? College Football is the obvious answer. However, I am aware that Tim Tebow is not your prototypical quarterback. The NFL leadership has always wanted "pocket passers". "Pocket Passers" are guys like Dan Marino that sit in the pocket and deliver a bullet with a fast release. In all fairness, I should mention that I am a fan of many of these particular QBs (they have dominated the league forever, so it shouldn't be a surprise).
Several years ago, in 2001, Michael Vick entered the league. Under Dan Reeves, the Falcons changed their offense to fit with his abilities. He was easily the most exciting player to watch in the league, but over the next couple of years, they constantly tried to change his style to become a "pocket passer". Even though he never fit that mold, and despite his stint in prison, he was still given a chance to play with the Eagles. So, on occasion, NFL teams have been known to take a chance and fit an offense around a player rather than selecting a player to fit an offense.
The NFL seems poised to accept more versatile QBs than ever. Last year, RGIII, Colin Kaepernick, Russell Wilson, etc.. seemed to be bringing in a new era of the modern QB. In the age of constant blitzing in the NFL, having a mobile QB that can move the ball toward the goal line has recently become more commonplace. Also, the argument used to be that "running QBs" often get hurt. All players are getting hurt these days. Peyton Manning and Tom Brady have been the best pocket QBs in the league and both have had significant injuries.
The public has only had one season to judge Tim Tebow's NFL performance. In 2011, the Denver Broncos started the season with Kyle Orton as their starting QB. He started the season 1-4 and was "pulled" in the 6th game of the season after the Broncos were behind by 16 points. Tebow didn't win that game, but they only lost the game by 5 points. I watched several of those games (I have NFL Sunday Ticket) and usually the Broncos would restrain what he was allowed to do until they had their backs against the wall. As an example, in his first full game against Miami, the team was losing 0-15 after 3 and a half quarters. The last three minutes of the game, they scored 15 points, took the game to overtime, and won. As a result of this strategy, he had several "come from behind" victories during the stretch that lead them into the playoffs.
In the playoffs, against the Steelers, he threw for 316 yards and two touchdowns (31.6 yards per catch is an NFL playoff record). While I am not saying he was the greatest passing QB in the league, I think that there is proof that he can pass the ball when he is asked to even against a great defense like the Steelers had at the time. I also think this provides proof that he is an NFL quality QB. In the NFL, one playoff win over a several year career has been known to lead to 100 million dollar contracts.
Last season, the Jets rarely played him. Even when their starter was horrendous, he never got a shot. The rumors were that the Jets owner picked him up without the okay from the couch. As a result, the coach didn't want to play him. The situation was similar in New England. The owner wanted him, but the coach had no desire to put him on the roster.
So, here we are with the NFL season just starting, and there is not a team that will give him a shot, even as a backup. The Dallas Cowboys actually have Kyle Orton (you know, the guy that started 1-4 for Denver) as their backup QB even though Tebow has been shown to produce much better results with the exact same talent.
While I am not arguing that there is a conspiracy (although, I am also not arguing against it), I do believe that most teams are afraid to use him as a backup because of the pressure that the fans would put on their starter. Also, because his critics hate him with a passion, a coach would face a "told you so" media onslaught if he was played and it didn't work out (when was the last time ESPN spent hours discussing how stupid Jacksonville was for playing Blaine Gabbert? Do you think they would have the same restraint if Tebow had the same record for a team?). Also, the team would need to run a different offense to take advantage of his unique skill set. I wish one of the horrible teams in the NFL (Jacksonville are you listening?) would pick him up and set him loose. I think it would be extremely entertaining. Also, I would bet that their jersey sales and ticket sales would climb (possibly skyrocket).
To get back to the article I mentioned, I don't blame Tebow for not signing on to an NFL team at another position at this point (assuming the rumor is true). He made plenty of money in his few years in the league, so he doesn't have to throw away his dreams at this time. There is a long season ahead and, if history is any indication, there will be QB injuries and he could still get a call. If he doesn't eventually make a team this year, I would not be surprised to see him play in another league as a QB before playing a different position in the NFL. A lot of people don't know about Kurt Warner's path to greatness, but I bet Tebow is aware of it.